Blessthefall's 'Hard Feelings Tour' Rolled Through Denver with a Vengeance

By: Nathan Sheppard

Blessthefall’s Hard Feelings Tour rolled into Denver this past Saturday at the Bluebird Theatre. The band was joined by A War Within, Thousand Below, Ded, and The Word Alive. While the Bluebird wasn’t as full as it has been in the past for these acts, it made for more of an intimate concert experience for everyone who did show.

A War Within started the night off with a short but energetic set followed by Thousand Below, who also cranked out a quick half-hour set. Ded was up next and you could tell that they have a pretty loyal following, as a good chunk of the crowd appeared to have shown up just to see them. The band is a mix of nu-metal and a little hip-hop, similar to old school Linkin Park, only heavier. The always entertaining Word Alive finished things off for the openers and toward the end of their set, they played a song in tribute to Kyle Pavone, the late singer of We Came As Romans.

Blessthefall was finally up next and the party was kicked up a notch. Frontman Beau Bokan commanded the stage from start to finish, energizing the crowd and making everyone jump and dance along with him. The group’s set had a heavy dose of songs from the band's newest album Hard Feelings, and sprinkled in some of the old favorites like “Hollow Bodies” and “40 Days.” Beau was also flooded with crowd surfers for most of the show, but didn’t miss a beat once, managing to give each and every surfer a hug before they dove back into the crowd. The guys finished off the night with “Here’s That Song You Wanted” with the same amount of energy and enthusiasm they had at the start of their show.

The Hard Feelings Tour was a fun show experience, and it winding down, there only a handful of shows to see for yourself. Find the remaining dates and keep up with the band here.  

-Nathan

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Premiere: Whitacre Release Catchy New Folk Rock Tune "Fantasy"

Denver’s Whitacre, the five-piece rock project led by Paul Whitacre, have plans to drop new music this year and today, we’re premiering the band’s newest single, “Fantasy.”

Whitacre, which is comprised of Paul Whitacre (rhythm guitar/lead vocals), Chase Perry (banjo/keys/vocal harmonies), Mark Cunningham (drums), Kyle Miner (lead guitar/vocal harmonies), and Brent Perkins (bass), recorded the track at Colorado Christian University’s studio. “Fantasy” was produced by Nicholas Webber, who is also featured on vocal harmonies on the songs, with engineering by Toshi Jamang.

Whitacre.

Whitacre.

“Fantasy,” which starts out with some stompy percussion, is a feel-good folk rock tune primed for summer. Its thick strings and catchy chorus make it feel like a Lumineers-inspired ditty. Whitacre himself sings the instantly appealing and memorable chorus, “We could be/What people thought was fantasy/Only portrayed in the Hollywood movie screens/All the love you read about in all those fairytales/I will be your fantasy.”

Said Paul about the track, “When we released our first single, 'Set Me Free,' we had a very small fan base and had no idea what to expect in our musical future. Now, after 50,000 streams, a show with Pandas & People and Wildermiss at the Bluebird Theater, and talks of a national tour this summer, we really feel a sense of fans longing for new music. Releasing our second single, 'Fantasy' is still really only the beginning. We've signed a recording contract with Joe Richmond for a five-song EP and are confident this song is going to continue laying the foundation that will make that a successful release later in 2018!”

“Fantasy” will drop across all streaming platforms this Friday, March 16th. To hear it live, catch Whitacre next at Larimer Lounge on Thursday, March 22nd where they’ll share a stage with The Ghost of Paul Revere and Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs.

Keep up with Whitcare here.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Dynohunter Evoke The Depth And Expansiveness The EDM Scene Is Craving

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Boulder, Colorado, a city closely associated with bluegrass and jam bands, is also home to thriving EDM musicians. Born out of the Lotus and STS9 jam scene, Boulder’s own Dynohunter is a hybrid of electronic dance music production and live band improvisation. Pulling electronic influences from house, techno, and electronica, while continuing to be influenced by their instrumental funk, jazz, and jam roots; blending electronic influences with live saxophone, drums and bass, Dynohunter evoke the depth and expansiveness the EDM scene is craving.

Dynohunter.

Dynohunter.

The trio has been around since 2010 and they’ve come a long way in their time as a band. Clark Smith has been keeping Dynohunter fresh with sax, keys, and percussion while mixing and producing the music, Fred Reisen adds the essential drooling low bass grooves, and drops a synth note when appropriate, Nic Thornsberry seamlessly kicks the drums and SPD-SX.  Blend these with tasteful original electronic soundscapes peppered with other organic instruments (like a conch shell, for example) and you got yourself an EDM journey deep into the universe (or jungle, or ocean, or insert your own temperature and atmosphere preference here). You are bound to at least bob your head, if you’re not fully compelled to dance.   

Watch Dynohunter’s recent live session at Knew Conscious:

Clark’s sparking creativity stems from his take on the music genre, “I just feel like EDM, Techno, and House music have so much untapped potential and unexplored pockets that intrigue and excite me. With other music genres, it feels like most avenues have already been explored.”

Dynohunter.

Dynohunter.

Early on in their career, the band played alongside the likes of Sunsquabi, Infected Mushroom, Shpongle, The New Deal, Papadosio and more. They’ve toured the country and have performed at music festivals coast to coast including Summercamp, Joshua Tree Music Festival, Sonic Bloom, and Arise. But along with their successes, the band has also dealt with tough loss. In April 2016, the band’s drummer and dear friend Justin Ehmer passed away after a long battle with cancer. Justin was a key member of the band who poured his heart and soul into the project. Since then, Dynohunter has pushed on, healing with time, but keeping Justin’s spirit alive in their music. A picture of his smiling face still stands behind the drums in Dynohunter’s home studio, a place the band has recently been working hard in.

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Dynohunter’s 2015 full length album The Nomad was well received; since then they have released four EPs, with Rattle the Cage being their most recent. Their fifth and upcoming EP titled Tilmun is scheduled for release on December 13th, with the single dropping December 6th, just a couple of days before they headline The Bluebird Theater in Denver.

Dynohunter at   Knew Conscious  .

Dynohunter at Knew Conscious.

Being a musical experience of their own, Dynohunter is well worth seeing live.  If you can catch them this Friday, December 8th at The Bluebird Theater, you’ll be in for a treat with fresh music right out of the studio and onto the stage.

According to Reisen, “[Dynohunter] sure has a way of bringing that experiential aspect of music to life and if you’re coming into it open-minded, you’ll be taken on a journey of higher vibration; an hour and a half experience that leaves you feeling a little bit better and expanded.”  Spoken like a true Boulderite, Fred!

-Mirna

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

A-Mac & The Height Reach New Peaks With New Record 'Part of It All'

By: Will Baumgartner

The ridiculously talented Denver band known as A-Mac & The Height have made a lot of noise over the past year, with a sold-out album release show at the Bluebird Theater, performances at their own Spread the Word Music Festival as direct support for the Kyle Hollingsworth Band, and a two-month fall tour which took them from the Midwest all the way to Florida. Behind all this activity is the group’s frontman and songwriter Alex MacKenzie-Low, a musically driven young man whose contagious energy not only drives the band, but has been an important part of the Denver area music scene for several years. I first met Alex when he booked my band at Moe’s Original BBQ in Englewood and the relationship has continued through a few years of the Spread The Word Festival, an annual event which is MacKenzie-Low’s personal labor of love and has been a vital and energizing part of the local live music landscape for the past five years.

A-Mac & The Height. 

A-Mac & The Height. 

Having seen the band (formerly known as A-Mac DZ) a number of times, I was not at all surprised to find that their current album Part of It All is filled with the same great songs and stellar musicianship I’ve come to expect from this band. The genre description on their Facebook page- “upbeat folk rock, reggae/world, hip-hop, jam” prepares the listener for a rather common combination of sounds in today’s music landscape, but the album itself is much more than the sum of these parts.  

Listen to Part of It All:

“Sun Comes Up” kicks off the musical journey of the record appropriately enough with a driving mashup of reggae and hip-hop, and a story of finding oneself and one’s family of friends through persistence and music. It begins with hopping on a train, facing loneliness and pain with the line, “‘Til I find my friends, my motivation/Music, yes, my inspiration.” These are lyrics that anyone who has chosen the challenging life of a musician can understand: we feel so much, and life can be so frightening and difficult, but music and the people we play it with makes it all worthwhile. From the drum and bass intro through the masterful rapping in the middle, all the way to the end, this is a great song performed by a super-tight band.

The second song, “Ends I’ll Never Know,” takes us into distinctly brighter territory. If “Sun Comes Up” is about climbing out of the darkness, this one is about dancing in the sunlight. It’s a happily grooving song with a bouncy guitar line that sounds like it could have come from Paul Simon’s Graceland or The Rhythm of the Saints albums, at least to my ears, it definitely has that happy South African/Latin-inspired feel. It’s also a markedly pop-sounding song, with its catchy chorus and hook-driven arrangement. You can practically hear the smile on MacKenzie-Low’s face as he sings “Oh I, oh I, ready for whatever comes my way today/Yes I, yes I, ready to grow to ends I’ll never know.”

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 “Indica From Heaven” is, not surprisingly, a feel-good party track. If weed is your party, blaze up and groove on down. The deeply funky reggae feel, horn lines, keyboard solo, and the lyrics all encourage the listener to just have a good time and not think too much. It’s also one of the most danceable tracks on the album, so don’t get too stoned to get up! The syncopation and breaks in the arrangement make it perfect for busting some moves.

The fourth track, “It Would Be Easy,” starts off in a sadder place. It’s a breakup song with lyrics like, “All our friends know you crushed my soul,” so the musical feel is appropriately wistful, at least at first. But the song is also about letting go, so there’s a break in the middle that suddenly feels like a Calypso/Salsa dance party, with a rolling Latin-sounding piano line and horns bouncing merrily over the top. You never know what to expect with these guys!

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“Streets of Colorado” is a homecoming anthem from a traveler who has gone away, but come back to where he’s from and feels most at home there. It’s the most rock-sounding track on the album, and the band ably supports the singer’s story with another tight arrangement and more excellent playing.

The album’s penultimate track, “Back On My Own,” revisits the theme of lost love while still emphasizing the singer’s drive to pick himself up and keep moving, which seems to be almost the theme of the whole disc: persistence, as Calvin Coolidge said, is omnipotent. As with all the songs on this album, the arrangement is a big part of what makes this song work: the individual instruments and the way they play off of each other, the musical dynamics, and the juxtaposition of different musical styles stacked together to create a balanced structure. The casual listener doesn’t need to “get” what’s going on behind the music to enjoy it, but musicians, songwriters and arrangers will find much to appreciate and admire. 

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And so we come to the final song on the album, “Here’s to the Love.” It’s a testament to the strength of MacKenzie-Low’s spirit that while he’s writing a song as a requiem to a dear friend, he still insists on not wallowing in the pain of his friend’s passing: “I will remember the good times always/No one can take away your memory, so here’s to the love.” You can hear the pain in his voice and in the music, and still, there’s that insistence on finding the good in everything, even death. So, ultimately, it’s not a sad song, but a celebration of life and love.

Again, I can’t overemphasize the strength of the musicianship on this record, and its importance in making it a successful recording. Drummer Matt McElwain, bassist Stephen Edwards, keyboardist Karl Rivers, saxophonist Joey Bean, and lead guitarist Ted Kleist are all great musicians, period. Colorado is lucky to have such talent in our midst, and A-Mac & The Height are blessed by the way they work together.

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Part of It All is available on Bandcamp. A-Mac & The Height are just returning from their fall tour, and will perform next in Colorado on Saturday November 25th at Mother Muff’s in Colorado Springs. Keep up with the band on their Facebook page and website.

-Will

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.   

Katelyn Of Shook Twins Talks To Us About The Band's Evolving Sound & Hints At Special Guests For Upcoming Show

By: Julia Talen

Identical twins Katelyn and Laurie Shook formed the now Portland-based indie-folk-pop band Shook Twins in 2004. They released their first album, You Can Have the Rest in 2008. Subsequent albums, 'Window' (2011) and 'What We Do' (2014) highlight their enticing vibe and unique sound that has evolved and shifted over the years. The layers of ambient and, at times, percussive vocal harmonies that thread through many of their songs remind me of the experimental vocals Amber Coffman and Angel Deradoorian brought to Dirty Projectors. With groovy acoustic and electronic instrumentals, evolved from their early folk roots, Shook Twins explore all genres and really cannot be confined to one sound; thus, they reach a wide audience. Neil Gaiman has taken notice and put eloquently, “I love the harmonies of the Shook Twins, the dreamlike songs that seem somehow permeated by the American Folk tradition, without actually being part of it. They make music that twines through your soul the way vines cover an abandoned shack in the woods." Shook Twins are coming to The Bluebird Theater this Sunday, October 15th, and we had the lovely opportunity to chat with Katelyn all about the band, from the beginnings to what their future looks like. Read on:

Who makes up Shook Twins?

Laurie, my twin sister, and I are the lead and main singers of the band. Then we have Niko- we just call him Niko Slice- his last name is hard to pronounce, so we just call him Niko Slice. He's kind of the other core member. He plays electric guitar, mandolin, and some bass. We do several of his songs in our set too; he's a songwriter. And then we have Josh Simon on the bass mainly, but he plays guitar as well, and plays some flute, too, actually. And then Barra Brown on the drums. He's mostly all drums, but he does plays flute as well on one song.

Shook Twins.

Shook Twins.

How did Shook Twins get their start, both with you and your sister, and then growing into a bigger band?

We started playing just the two of us at local wineries and bars and stuff in our small town that we grew up in, Sandpoint, Idaho. That was in 2006, after college, when we started doing that, just playing around kind of just for fun. We realized how much we really enjoyed it, and at that point, we were starting to write our own songs, just moving slow and having fun with it. And then we found some players to play with us, none of which are still in the band. The first crew was awesome, and we went on some really fun tours, nothing too legit or anything, but you know, a great time. That was in 2007 and 2008. Then the first band kind of all went their own ways, and Laurie and I decided to move to Portland. We just started meeting other local musicians there- Barra and Josh we met in Portland. Niko we met earlier in California, and he eventually moved up to Portland. Yeah so just a slow process. Laurie and I kept playing since 2007 and have kind of gathered players along the way.

Did you and your sister grow up playing music at all before you started playing at local wineries and bars?

We grew up singing, but we didn't play any instruments until we were 17, so we didn't take it too seriously until after college I'd say.

Did growing up in Idaho influence you all in any way?

It definitely did when we were starting out. When we were writing our first songs, we were there and were really influenced by nature and just the beauty of Idaho. The town we grew up in is totally gorgeous. We had a lot more nature time back then. But with our sound now it's definitely more influenced by the city life. In Portland we're absorbing all that creative indie-artist, indie-rock genre. Our sound has gotten a lot more electronic-y and a lot more groovy than it used to be. It's more city-influenced nowadays.

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What kinds of music did you both grow up listening to, and do any of those artists or bands influence Shook Twins?

Growing up our influences were kind of all across the board from all genres and everywhere. Early on childhood was like, you know normal pop, Celine Dion and Spice Girls. But then the first artist that kind of grabbed us and started turning our ears towards the folk scene was Ani Difranco. And it's amazing that you just asked that because we've been huge fans of Ani since we were 12 or 13 I'd say, and that kind of got us into writing more poetically and darker and deeper lyrics, outside the box. And just last weekend we got to sing with her on stage at the Festy Experience over in Virginia, and it was the best! She doesn't necessarily influence our sound too much today, but her power and her fierceness and feminism are definitely still influencing us hugely.

Speaking of exploring, I looked on your website and read about the Golden Egg, which is really cool, but I'm also curious… tell me about the telephone mic.

Yeah that's definitely become an essential part of our sound. I found it on Craigslist actually. I forget what year I found that; I think it was 2010 or something? We were experimenting at the time, recording ourselves, and started finding it was cool to do different effects, like distortions almost, on certain parts with our vocals. We thought that it added a lot to have a different texture, especially since when we sing together or in unison it's hard to tell that there are two voices singing. But if you add some texture to your own voice then it kind of pops out a little bit more. I was looking on Craigslist for a bullet mic, which is a harmonica mic that kind of has that same radio-y effect. And then I found that weird DIY telephone microphone. It's an actual old phone handset from the nineties or eighties or something, and I got it. And then a fan got me that golden case that goes over it.

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That's awesome. I love the vocal stuff that you all incorporate into your music- it's really interesting.

Thank you.

I was also wondering about what the music writing process looks like for both you and your sister and the group together.

Mostly it's Laurie and I that write together. Sometimes I'll just write a whole song by myself and visa versa. Lately we just sit down and write together, and it's been completely collaborative. On our upcoming record which will come out in the spring, we have a song on there that we wrote as a band which was really fun to do. We don't have that much experience writing with anybody else other than the two of us, so it was a cool experiment. It worked out really well. We will do that again in the future. But mostly it's us, and then we will bring it to the boys and they'll come up with their parts.

The Shook Twins At Red Rocks.

The Shook Twins At Red Rocks.

You mentioned an album coming out in the spring. Aside from the tour you are on now, what's up next for Shook Twins?

Well that actually! We have a duo EP coming out in November, which will tie people over until we get out the full-band, full-length album in the spring. In the meantime, I think we're going to be touring straight through and then start touring really hard, focusing on the album release tour in the spring when the full length album comes out. Nothing too extraordinary coming in the future but just playing shows!

Katelyn did inform me that Shook Twins will have some special guests at the Bluebird playing with them this weekend; some famous Coloradans. I have a few ideas, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see!

Don’t miss Shook Twins, Sunday, October 15th, with Tallgrass and Ian Mahan, at The Bluebird! Ticket here!

-Julia

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Colorado Halloween 2017: Your Guide To All The Best Halloween Shows Happening This Month

By: Mirna Tufekcic

‘Tis the season of witches and warlocks, zombies and monsters, and some kick-ass parties honoring All Hallow’s Eve. If you’re anything like us, you’ve already started gearing up for the most fun weekend of the year- the one that celebrates the weird with music, costumes, and more music. Colorado music lovers, we’re here to tear you apart with choices of all the celebrations taking place around the state for this year’s Halloween weekend.

Boulder

Papadosio.

Papadosio.

Thursday 10/26: The Boulder Theater presents the unmistakeable: The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Colorado’s Elusive Ingredient- Denver’s Rocky Horror Shadowcast will perform along with the film. Whether you’re a seasoned attendee or a virgin to this interactive movie and theatre performance, it’s sure to make a great start to a funky weekend. The key word for this event is interactive.  Expect to touch or be touched.  

Friday & Saturday 10/27-10/28: Halloween weekend at The Boulder Theater will host a two-night “Rave from the Grave” party with Papadosio and friends. Papadosio plans to pay tribute to some of the 90s and early 2000s electronic artists that influenced their path as a band. To pop the cherry of this event, Boulder’s own Dynohunter will take guests on a journey through deep, grounding house tunes, just to lift you up through organic electro peaks and valleys you can rave about all over the dance floor. Saturday night, the party will start with Bass Physics, a one man show put together by Denver’s esteemed Arja Adair guaranteed to provide positive tunes while mixing up acoustic guitar and electronic sounds. Two-day passes are already sold out for this weekend, but click here to buy a one day ticket before they’re all gone. This event is likely to sell out soon.

Sunday 10/29: The Fox Theatre is hosting Sinful Sunday Halloween Party with Midnight North and All Chiefs. This ought to be an upbeat, dancey, bodies-grinding-all-night kind of show as Midnight North brings their soul, country, rock’n’roll, and All Chiefs their indie beeps, boops, and digital sprinkles to make any body groove. The show is free to industry folks; if you’re not one of those get your hands on some tickets here.

Tuesday 10/31: Snakehips make their return to Fox Theatre for Halloween, where we expect to see lots of fun costumes groovin' to their bass drops. Tickets here.

Denver

Marilyn Manson.

Marilyn Manson.

Saturday 10/07: The Mile High City has big things on the agenda throughout October in almost every music venue. The spirit of the season starts with thousands of living dead wannabes at Denver’s Zombie Crawl, and the city will no doubt be bustling with dark spirits from then through the end of October.

Thursday 10/19: Marilyn Manson will bring his tour to the Fillmore Auditorium, as long as he’s healed up from his recent stage injury. While not a Halloween weekend event, it’s close enough, especially since he’s known for having the most disturbing Instagram account around. Enjoy. UPDATE: This show is rescheduled for 01/20/18 - details here

Friday 10/20: The Gasoline Lollipops are bringing you one scary hoedown at Denver's Lost Lake tonight. Hosted by 105.5 The Colorado Sound, Grayson County Burn Band and Whipperpool will join Colorado's favorite alt-country outfit on good 'ol Colfax for an eerie time. 

Friday 10/27: Lost Lake Lounge is throwing their Terrified Halloween party with Modern Suspects, a “popternative trio,” Optycnerd, an electo-indie-pop beats duo that bring the heat to the dance floor, and Vynyl, an electronic hip-hop pop duo. This one’s set for a full house of Denver-based musicians and beat-makers bound to terrify you into dancing the night away.

Friday 10/27: Syntax Physic Opera will host an early event starting at 7PM called Hell Toupee, A Lounge Night in Hell, which is a comedy and variety show. Then starting at 9PM, you can check out Lillian’s album release party.

Friday & Saturday 10/27-10/28: The Oriental Theater will have a weekend packed full of halloween celebrations. Friday night is the Third Annual Monster Ball with Alice in Chains and KISS tribute bands. Need I say more? Saturday night is reserved for a costume contest event called MORTIFIED, an international storytelling event where adults share their most embarrassing and hilarious childhood artifacts in front of total strangers. Dare I say terrifying?

Optycnerd.

Optycnerd.

Saturday 10/28: Bar Standard/Milk Bar will host a Colorado HELLoween Ball with TR/ST. It's the biggest event of the year from promoters Ritual Noize. TR/ST is considered a popular goth/industrial/dark electronic artist and HELLoween is a party for just such fans, so it should be a hell of a time if you’re into that scene. According to Ritual Noize, “HELLoween has always been about mixing club culture, the Halloween tradition and live musical performances with a horror theme attached.” This year the decor will be Psycho-themed; hurray for Hitchcock fans!

Saturday 10/28: Halloween Hootenanny at The Bluebird Theater will feature Denver DJ Wesley Wayne and a costume competition that can score you year passes to some of Denver’s most beloved venues. Click on the Hootenanny link above for details and if you plan to attend, you’d better come in your best costume yet.

Saturday 10/28: Gothic Theatre is throwing Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery party with Deer Tick and special guest Chris Crofton, who will open up the event with, hopefully, a very funny set before things get groovy and ghosts begin to apparate. Deer Tick hails from Providence, Rhode Island with a rebellious take on alternative, folk, rock’n’roll, and country vibes.

Saturday 10/28: Larimer Lounge is hosting their Halloween Edition of Dance Yourself Clean with DJs inspired by the likes of LCD Soundsystem, Grimes, Blood Orange, and more. Shake off the sugar with this one.

Estes Park

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Saturday 10/21: The Shining Ball at the Concert Hall of the famous Stanley Hotel will have yet another yearly Halloween staple with Denver’s beloved Gasoline Lollipops. We imagine the band will truly bring the spirit of Halloween to life, with growls from frontman Clay Rose and howls from the audience over the band’s poignant lyrics and dark, stompy tunes.

Saturday 10/28: The legendary Masquerade Ball at the Stanley Hotel will conclude the Halloween events at the haunted property with live music by Jonny Mogambo backed by a full band.

Fort Collins

Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Friday 10/13: Mishawaka Amphitheatre will host a Rocky Horror Picture Show screening all its own with a troupe of actors, games, and trivia. There will also be a costume contest and drink specials. Practice your time warp now.

Friday 10/27: Hodi’s Half Note is getting metal with Skinned, A Flood Foretold, Inficier, and Voracious Souls. Headbang until witching hour.

Greeley

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Friday 10/27: Sweaty soul outfit The Burroughs are headlining Moxi Theatre’s 4th Annual Halloween Extravanganza, and chill wave beach band Slow Caves are opening. No word on if the bands are dressing up yet, but fingers crossed.

Sunday 10/29: The Moxi is also throwing a purely metal Halloween show this weekend with Bash, Skinned, Last Word, Infinited Conscious, and Cyber Zodiac. Go get weird.

Jamestown

The Alcapones.

The Alcapones.

Saturday 10/28: If it’s in your interest to get away from all the debauchery and chaos of city life during Halloween, then the quaint town of James has something for you. They are hosting The Alcapones at the good ‘ol Merc. A ska/reggae band with a mountain flare, The Alcapones will definitely bring the house down and set this mountain roof on fire.    

And finally, for those of you wanting to see and hear live music without all of the Halloween hype, here’s what’s good:

Friday 10/27: Tonight at the Hi-Dive in Denver is Jocko Homo, an event to pay tribute to 90s and 2000s alternative rock bands like Incubus, Weezer, and Modest Mouse, with cover bands honoring all three respectively. Sidenote: Actual Incubus and Weezer play Red Rocks this month.

The Infamous Stringdusters.

The Infamous Stringdusters.

Friday & Saturday 10/27-10/28: Denver’s The Ogden Theatre will host two nights of The Infamous Stringdusters this weekend. Party down.

Saturday 10/28: Red Rocks Amphitheatre will be abuzz with Russ, an American hip-hop singer/songwriter, recording artist, and producer.

Tuesday 10/31: Dream pop four-piece Alvvays  are ringing in actual Halloween night at Denver's Bluebird Theater with Jay Som.

Tuesday 10/31: Denver's own Itchy-O play Summit Music Hall on Halloween, which is fitting for this avant-garde and experimental marching band. The show is sponsored by Meow Wolf, so expect to get weird. 

See you out there somewhere Halloweenies.

-Mirna

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Have something to add to this list? Let us know here.

Too Many Zooz Are Ready To Boogie With Denver For Two Nights At Bluebird Theater

Brass House trio Too Many Zooz are making their way back to Colorado for their second run this year, and are slated for shows at The Bluebird Theater Thursday, September 7th and  Friday, September 8th.

Comprised of baritone saxophone prodigy Leo Pellegrino, trumpeter Matt Doe and percussionist David "King of Sludge" Parks, the NYC three-piece first made waves busking in subway stations in 2014. They’ve released four EPs since then, and last summer, dropped their first full-length record Subway Gawdz. The trio manages to blend jazz, EDM, Afro-Cuban rhythms, and funk into one boogie-down sound that even caught the attention of Beyoncé, who had the trio guest on her Lemonade tour.

Recently, the band premiered their new video for their song “Bedford,” which was filmed where the band began their whirlwind of success: in an NYC subway.

Make sure to snag tickets to one of Too Many Zooz upcoming Colorado shows; keep up with the energetic trio here.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Review: Dandu's 'Caught Between' Ventures Beyond Fusion & Into Livetronica, Hip-Hop, & Even Space

By: Will Baumgartner

It would be too easy- and wholly misleading- to simply call the Denver trio known as Dandu a “fusion” group. Just a glance at the influences listed on their Facebook page could tell you that: Flying Lotus, Aphex Twin, Thundercat, Kneebody, The Bad Plus, and Bon Iver? What do you call a band who are inspired by such a diverse list of artists?! The phrase Dandu uses is “Wonky Groove Music,” and as words go when used in an attempt to describe the basically indescribable, I guess that’s as good a choice as any you’re likely to get. But when it comes to music like this, it’s best to put words aside and simply dig into the music itself.

Dandu. Photo Credit: Derek Miles Photography

Dandu. Photo Credit: Derek Miles Photography

So let’s go to their recently released EP Caught Between, and settle in for a trip that, for its relative scarcity of actual words (only two of the six tracks have vocals, and those are more imagistic than didactic), still manages to be wildly evocative. Among the many scenes and visions I get listening to this recording from beginning to end, the prevailing feel is of a spacewalk which varies between a stroll and a sort of power-walk. But while this journey is clearly purposeful and at times just a bit speedy, it never feels hurried.

Listen to Caught Between

The trip begins with “Stu Fish” (featuring Calm Alone, aka Grant Stringham, who also produced and mixed the entire EP), a bit of moody and almost apocalyptic-sounding psychedelia. This track, to which Stringham contributed samples, synth, and some drum programming, sets the mood for the whole journey: clearly, we’re in an otherworldly place, and while there’s a fair degree of darkness and menace around us, there are also lights everywhere- and we have a destination.

Ben Weirich. Photo Credit: Derek Miles Photography

Ben Weirich. Photo Credit: Derek Miles Photography

The second track, “Don’t Fret” (featuring Cosmic Slim, aka Wesley Watkins of The Other Black) continues this theme, and is very aptly titled: while the dark hip-hop groove and Watkins’ rapping conjure images of palpable levels of stress, fear and confusion, the overall effect is actually rather lighthearted and humorous, reminding one a bit of Childish Gambino meets TV On The Radio. (The trumpet playing of Carrie McCune adds more color as well.) Yeah, the song seems to be saying, it’s a bit frenetic and somewhat scary out here, but keep walking; we’ve got somewhere to go.

Sean Dandurand. Photo Credit: Derek Miles Photography

Sean Dandurand. Photo Credit: Derek Miles Photography

Next up is “Hips,” which begins with spacy, soundtrack-like music (I kept thinking it would fit well at the beginning of a sequel to the sci-fi cult classic “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai”). It then moves into the most “fusion”-like territory on the EP, with echoes of Herbie Hancock in his “Thrust” phase. There is also a strong “livetronica” feel here, which is actually present throughout this entire collection of songs, but especially on this one.

Dylan Johnson. Photo Credit: Derek Miles Photography

Dylan Johnson. Photo Credit: Derek Miles Photography

The fourth track, “Elfie,” is the darkest-feeling one on the record: despite its rather whimsical-sounding title, the feel is almost dirge-like, and the voice samples have a sad and frightened feel. But keep going, there’s power and beauty ahead, and a truly well-told story must acknowledge the darkness on its way to the shimmering lights in the distance.

Photo Credit: Derek Miles Photography

Photo Credit: Derek Miles Photography

I didn’t ask Dandu’s apparent leader/mastermind Sean Dandurand what any of these titles mean (though I’m guessing there are obscure stories and inside jokes behind each of them), so I don’t have any clear idea why the fifth song is called “Moot the Destroyer.” For me, though, this track has the most purposeful feel of any of them: the song strides forward with a clear sense of destination. Maybe it’s whoever this Moot character is pushing on to more destruction, or possibly the story’s protagonist going to stand up to the Destroyer, but maybe all we need to know for sure is that something’s happening, and it’s a powerful moment.

Everyone who listens to Caught Between will get something different out of it, and indeed that’s a big part of its value: this music doesn’t try to direct the listener to feel or think any one specific thing, but rather provides a vast array of possibilities and encourages free association and imagination. For this listener, the biggest payoff comes in the closing track, “All It Could Be.” There’s a great feeling of hope and potential fulfillment in this dreamy, pastoral, and beautiful song, along with a wistful sense of wonder. And Sean Dandurand’s vocals have me hoping I will hear more of his singing and lyrics in future recordings.

In a band whose power comes mostly from the strength of its players, Dandu is exemplary: Sean Dandurand is simply one of the best bassists around, and his diverse talents on his instrument can also be heard in the aforementioned Other Black, where he ably holds down the bottom with style and aplomb. Keyboardist Ben Weirich has been one of my favorite local players since I first heard him about six years ago with the now-defunct but great group People’s Abstract (in which Dandurand also played, and was where the two first met). Weirich uses the keyboards in ways I’ve never heard anyone else do, filling the space between the drums and bass with rich textures. And drummer Dylan Johnson has also more than proven himself as a member of Other Black, though to my ears, it’s in Dandu where he truly gets to show everything he’s capable of, with his inventive and many-shaded uses of the drum kit.

Watch Dandu's video for "Heartbeats Break":

It’s been a busy and triumphant summer for Dandu: I was lucky enough to catch them twice, first with local psychedelic groove-monsters Mlima at CU Boulder’s Fiske Planetarium, and then as openers for jazz supergroup Hudson (John Scofield, John Medeski, Jack DeJohnette and Larry Grenadier) at Chautauqua Auditorium. Since then they’ve toured the West Coast and followed that with a string of performances at the recent UMS fest in Denver. But just as summer isn’t over, neither is their conquest of the season: before heading out for another tour, this time in the Midwest, lucky local music lovers get one more chance to catch them in Denver, when they support the great Jacob Collier at the Bluebird Theater next Tuesday, August 22nd. With Mile High Soul Club also on the bill, we’d all be wise to queue up for tickets now. It’s bound to be a spectacular night!

Keep up with Dandu on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and their website.

-Will

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.  

Hurray for The Riff Raff Shows We're All In This Together

By: Sierra Voss 

Hurray for The Riff Raff made a tour stop for their newest album, The Navigator, at Denver’s Bluebird Theater Wednesday night. The venue was packed wall to wall with adoring fans. The lights went down and the song, “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” began to play over the speakers. The track, sung by activist and musician Nina Simone, came to be the anthem for the show with its lyrics:  

“I wish I knew how it would feel to be free/I wish I could break all the chains holding me/I wish I could say all the things that I should say/Say 'em loud, say 'em clear/For the whole round world to hear. I wish I could share all the love that's in my heart/Remove all the bars that keep us apart/I wish you could know what it means to be me/Then you'd see and agree/That every man should be free...”  

The band took the stage against a banner backdrop that read, “We’re All In This Together” and frontwoman Alynda Segarra welcomed the audience as the group flowed straight into their first song of the set, “Life to Save.” Hurray for The Riff Raff have become well known throughout the country for their roots-conscious folk music. The band newest album, The Navigator, tells the “cinematic story of a wandering soul that finally realized she needed to connect with and honor her ancestors.” Segarra, who is of Puerto Rican descent and was raised in the Bronx, has arguably injected this record with a number of her personal experiences as a queer Latin woman who spent years hopping trains and traveling as a member of Dead Man Street Orchestra. Wednesday night’s show was a beautiful reflection of her incredible storytelling capabilities. 

Alynda Segarra.

Alynda Segarra.

Alynda Segarra acted as a powerful narrator throughout the show, performing numerous songs off the band’s new album while also incorporating songs throughout their entire four record discography. Some songs from the set Wednesday night included “Nothing’s Gunna Change That Girl,” “Hungry Ghost,” “Blue Ridge Mountain,” and “Living In The City.” 

Hurray for the Riff Raff.

Hurray for the Riff Raff.

Hurray for the Riff Raff still have a few more stops to go on their tour. Check out their upcoming shows here! Need convincing? Take a listen to their new song “Hungry Ghosts” below:

-Sierra

All photos per the author. All videos and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The Sadies' New Record Is Arguably Their Best Yet & Drummer Mike Belitzsky Tells Us Why

By: Claire Woodcock

Mike Belitzsky has been drumming with The Sadies for over 20 years and has never been so excited about the direction the band is moving in. The traditionally roots rock kings of Canada’s sound on Northern Passengers, released back in February, preserves the band’s history while soaking the tracks in reverb and a light wash of fuzz.

The Sadies. Photo Credit:  Heather Pollock Photography

The Sadies. Photo Credit: Heather Pollock Photography

The eclectic country western rock quartet recorded album number ten in the basement of members Dallas and Travis Good’s parent’s house. The brothers come from a family of musicians- their father and uncles formed The Good Brotherswhich Travis and Dallas actually played in for a stitch before forming The Sadies back in 1994 with their lineup of bassist Sean Dean and drummer Belitsky.

The instrumentals on Northern Passengers are in tight sync. And Belitsky’s musical style is to keep it that way, balancing creativity with keeping the other parts audible. Part of that stems from the band not feeling pressed for time when recording the album.  

“If we wanted to speed [a song] up 10 beats per minute we could just redo [the track] and it wasn’t a big deal,” he said.

Some songs only took a half a day to track. “But for others, [we] would do it and then three days later somebody would be putting the guitar track on and say, ‘You know what, this is too slow, we’ve got to redo the whole thing.’” he added.  

Photo Credit:  Derek von Essen

Photo Credit: Derek von Essen

The album came out in February as The Sadies’ first record with Dine Alone Records. Highly respected in North America for a dynamic blend of rock’n’roll licks and country western harmonies, the veteran indie band collaborated with Neko Case and Andre Williams and opened and accompanied greats like Neil Young. And Kurt Vile, who played a killer set at Project Pabst in Denver last weekend guests on Northern Passengers with “It’s Easy (Like Walking),” which sounds like a traditional Kurt Vile song. (He sure likes to walk, doesn’t he?)  

Photo Credit: Rick White.

Photo Credit: Rick White.

Belitsky’s drums compliment every vocal, guitar, and bass track on the album. “Everybody sort of just assumes that you get the drum sounds and then bang! The drummer just bangs out a track and goes home,” he said, “...[But] I don’t like to be just the guy that plays super straight and just keeps the time. I want to be creative and I want to be someone who plays the song not just to the beat and within that realm in those parameters. I don’t want to be so busy that I’m stepping on someone’s part or taking away from the melody. I don’t want to lose the backbeat but I still want to be creative and play to the song as much as I can, where there’s still a strong feeling of a backbeat and a rhythm, but [the drums] still manage to embellish the song to highlight the other parts.”

Artwork by Jeremy Bruneel

Artwork by Jeremy Bruneel

Catch The Sadies when they’re passing through Denver this Friday, May 26th at The Bluebird Theater. Justin Towne Earles headlines and has a new single out this month. Tickets here.

-Claire

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.  

Review: Dragondeer Breathe Fire On New Record 'Topanga Canyon Sessions Vol. 1'

By: Ben Jewell

Dragondeer, a self-described psych-blues band from Colorado, released Topanga Canyon Sessions Vol. 1, their latest 7” record, today! And tonight they’re celebrating with a hometown show at the Bluebird Theater in Denver. The album is just the right length to occupy your time on the way to the show, so I suggest downloading it for the trip here.

I listened to this album before knowing anything about Dragondeer. I must say, Dragondeer is one of the most aptly chosen band names I’ve heard in a very long time. It describes the album in one word better than I can surely do. Topanga Canyon Sessions Vol. 1 has three songs (including the digital “Bonus Track”), three moods, and three contradictory stories. Much like viewing a dragondeer creature for the first time, you’ll likely tilt your head slightly to get another perspective and check just what you thought you heard.

Dragondeer.

Dragondeer.

If you are not a self-described psych blues lover, fear not! This album is for almost everyone. For me, this is best described as a modern soul blues album. Soul blues is a bit like a mood ring. It can be light and frothy, sexy, mean and gritty, optimistic, even down-right depressing. The beauty of it is, that much like people, it’s a complicated array of styles and emotions all mashed together to make something awesome, and yet surprisingly easy to listen to. Topanga Canyon Sessions Vol. 1 succinctly conveys this in three songs, and will have you moving the entire time.

Listen to Topanga Canyon Sessions Vol. 1:

It breaks down like this…..

Track 1, “When I See You” is light and sexy. Snare on the quarter notes, a motown bass line, rhythm guitar dancing up the fretboard, a baritone vocal exclaiming, “I got a feeling, I just can’t hide,” and background “ooo's” in falsetto, which make this a well executed ode to love makin’ that will get you winking at your significant other, or that soul across the bar.

Track 2, “Broadway Avenue” is driving and gritty. If Pinocchio was remade today, this would be the song played when the naughty boys were dancing around on Pleasure Island. Harmonica and guitar are intertwined in a rhythmic, sometimes wavelike mix of ebb and flow, while the rhythm section creates a swinging march like cadence. Frontman Eric Halborg’s vocals showcase his blues side as he sings of a place where “what ya gonna do… there are so many fine, fine things for children to do;” and I can assure you, they’re all naughty!

Bonus Track, “If You Got The Blues” is a soulful song with great blues instrumentals. The harmonica sets the tone, the rhythm section gets you swaying back and forth, and the lapsteel sings over the whole thing. The vocals are strong, yet as each note is held out, they emphasize the longing and almost begging plea: “Don't leave me, ma please don’t leave.” The melody doesn’t always end up where you think it will, and that gives it a nice originality to a song type and story that is often all too familiar.  

This brings me back to the mythical dragondeer. Topanga Canyon Sessions Vol. 1 makes love to you, breaks your heart while running around on you, and then begs you to come back with promises that it’ll be there for you when you have the blues. It is fun and playful, and simultaneously breathes fire. It is soul blues performed in a very respectable way. Enjoy!

Get tickets to Dragondeer's Bluebird Theatre Release Show here.

Deets: Topanga Canyon Sessions Vol. 1. was recorded by Dragondeer featuring Eric Halberg on Vocals, Guitar, and Harmonica; Cole Rudy on Mandolin, Lap Steel, Guitar, and Vocals; Carl Sorensen on Drums and Percussion; and Casey Sidewell on Bass. The album was produced by Mark Howard and Executive Producer Peter Bowers. Artwork was created by Ryder Evan Robison. For more information on Dragondeer visit www.dragondeer.com .

-Ben

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Alina Baraz Brought Her Sultry Goodness to Denver Last Weekend

By: Sierra Voss

Alina Baraz sold out Denver’s Bluebird Theater this past Sunday and put on a fabulous show for her loyal fans.

Alina Baraz.

Alina Baraz.

A little history: The talented vocalist was actually found by Danish beats producer Galimatias after she recorded her written songs over some of his tracks and uploaded them to her Soundcloud. Soon after, they were connected and the two produced Urban Flora together, an eight song EP. At age 19, she moved from her hometown in Ohio to Los Angeles. By age 21, she was already playing Lollapalooza. And most recently, Baraz was just added as Coldplay’s opener for their 2017 national tour. She’s climbed the pop ladder, and quickly.

Never in my life have I heard people scream for an artist the way Sunday night's crowd called out for Alina Baraz. But then again, what’s not to love? Her sultry R&B voice glided over tropical house tracks as she swayed across the stage in one sexy ass outfit. I saw audience members look over to their friends after every song stating, and restating, how stunning her voice was live. The compliments were flowing throughout the show and fans melted when she knelt down and grabbed the hands of those that waited their little hearts out in the front row for a chance to touch her.  

Watch Alina Baraz’s latest music video:

Alina Baraz’s Denver show certainly racked up more points toward her dominance in the pop music world; the fans don’t lie. Take a listen to Baraz’s EP Urban Flora and catch one of her next shows.

-Sierra

All photos per the author. All videos and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.  

Electric Guest Are On One Powerful Comeback Tour

By: Sierra Voss

Electric Guest stopped by the Bluebird Theater last weekend, offering up one last hurrah before the work week for Denver residents. The room was packed with excited fans, a surprising turnout for a Sunday night. Electric Guest had been on a five year hiatus, and it was clear via conversations floating around the room that the audience was excited and had been anticipating their return.

Electric Guest hail from Los Angeles, where they formed their band 11 years ago. They roll four deep, comprised of Asa Taccone (lead vocals), Matthew Compton (drums), Tory Dahlhoff (guitar and keys) and Todd Dahlhoff (bass). Prior to their most recent album Plural, the band had not released since their debut record Mondo in 2012. When Mondo hit the airwaves, they quickly fell into the swell of indie rock music emerging at the time. Just as the band began to rise in the ranks of indie bands, they disappeared for five years. So it made sense that the room at the Bluebird was buzzing in anticipation to see if these boys would pick up where they left off.

Watch Electric Guest’s music video for “Dear to Me”:

The band started the show with no sound. Lead singer Asa Taccone immediately took it as a cue to ask the audience questions, while the sound technicians got things squared away. Asa asked the audience if anyone had some weed. Leave it up to Denver to immediately respond by someone throwing a whole vial of weed directly at his face.   

Asa Taccone.

Asa Taccone.

I was pleasantly surprised by the band's unique sound and lively performance once things got started. Lead singer, Asa Taccone has some crazy-glorious vocals going on. About 80% of the time, he rocked out in his super-clear and powerful male falsetto. Chills. The show really picked up when the band dropped an old favorite, “This Head I Hold.” Audience members cried out after “Troubleman,” but to no avail; this particular song went unplayed. The band wrapped up their set just under the hour mark.

EG’s music has certainly evolved since 2012, taking a turn away from a full-bodied band to a more focused, electronic sound. Still, Electric Guest hold true to their funky, vintage, retro-groove vibe, the one that first caught the attention of American and European audiences five years ago.

Matthew Compton.

Matthew Compton.

Curious yourself as to where this band is headed on their path of return? Catch a show for yourself by snatching tickets here.

-Sierra

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Denver's Indie Shoegaze Outfit Corsicana Play The Mercury Cafe This Thursday

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver’s Corsicana is the brainchild of 18-year-old Ben Pisano, who started the project in 2014 while still in highschool. With influences including Bon Iver, Death Cab for Cutie, Sufjan Stevens, and Tycho, Corsicana has evolved into a three-piece band live, with atmospheric soundscapes and a shoegaze ambience. Pisano (guitar/vocals) is accompanied by members Amos Chase (drums/synth) and Ryan Skiles (bass) for performances. And speaking of shows, you can catch this crew this Thursday (01/19) at The Mercury Cafe in Denver.

Ben Pisano of Corsicana. 

Ben Pisano of Corsicana. 

Pisano has recorded two EPs under Corsicana, the second of which caught the attention of Pandora Radio and is featured in the online radio’s catalogue. In September of 2016, Corsicana’s first full-length album Haven was released, a work which Pisano recorded himself in full as well. After the release of Haven last fall, Corsicana found themselves touring the Pacific Northwest and getting radio play on CPR’s OpenAir.

Check out Corsicana’s Haven:

Following their show at The Mercury Cafe this week, you can keep up with Corsicana’s 2017 gig schedule here. Whether you peep this ambient indie act digitally or at their show this Thursday, this is a band starting off the year with some sweet buzz from their release last fall, so lend them an ear. Listen to more Corsicana on their Bandcamp page.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Your Guide To Colorado Shows For New Year's Eve

By: Hannah Oreskovich

It’s time to pop bottles Colorado! Here are our picks for New Year’s Eve shows this weekend:

Berthoud

Jeremy Mohney at City Star Brewing in Berthoud 9PM-Close

Jeremy Mohney.

Jeremy Mohney.

Boulder’s Jeremy Mohney released multiple EPs this year, both of which definitely caught our ear. The jazz/swing artist is throwing down at City Star Brewery to welcome in 2017, and we definitely recommend getting your swing moves on at this one. Mohney will have your feet tappin’ in no time, and after a few celebration libations, you won’t want to sit still. Details here.

Boulder

Andrew Sturtz & Friends at The No Name in Boulder 10PM-Close

Andrew Sturtz.

Andrew Sturtz.

Soulful singer/songwriter Andrew Sturtz will be holding things down behind the big brown door tomorrow night for NYE. Known locally for his solo work and his performances with The Constellation Collective and other groups, Strutz will croon you into the new year in style. Plus, there’s no cover. What’s not to dig? Deets here.

Lady and The Gentleman at The Lazy Dog in Boulder 10PM-Close

Boulder’s Lady and The Gentleman have made some changes to their lineup this year, but they’re still bringing mad grooves to the Colorado scene. Tomorrow they’ll grace the stage at The Lazy Dog, and no cover means no excuses. Get to it! More info right here.

The Alcapones at Conor O’Neill’s Irish Pub in Boulder 10PM-Close

The Alcapones.

The Alcapones.

If you want to be shaken up Boulder, here’s your chance! The minstrel show of The Alcapones will be taking over Conor’s to dance you into the wee hours of 2017. Come hang and get rowdy! There will be lots of funky horn playing for your listening pleasure. More info here.

Yonder Mountain String Band with The Railsplitters at The Boulder Theater in Boulder 8PM-Close

Yonder Mountain String Band.

Yonder Mountain String Band.

Nederland’s Yonder Mountain String Band are holding down the BT for NYE. The five-piece bluegrass band well-known around these parts will share the stage with Boulder’s The Railsplitters. Get over to get down! Tickets here.

Denver

Flobots with Nahko and Medicine For The People at The Ogden Theatre in Denver 8PM-Close

Flobots

Flobots

Denver’s Flobots members have been locally active in several awesome events this year, including Denver’s “Our Neighbors, Ourslves” refugee benefit and the Rock Against The TPP event. Tonight, the crew will swing you into the new year with Portland’s Nahko and Medicine For The People at The Ogden. Tickets here.

Fox Street & Friends with Tiger Party at The Bluebird Theatre in Denver 9PM-Close

Dever’s Fox Street & Friends will be rolling in the new year tomorrow at The Bluebird with a 12-piece band and double sets, which will include music from the movies Boogie Nights and Blow, and tracks by Rick James, David Bowie, and Prince. The band’s frontman Jonathan Huvard is relocating to NYC in 2017, so this show is your chance to catch this crew together in what may be their last local performance for awhile. Tiger Party will open the night with songs by LCD Soundsystem. Tickets for this dance party here!

Itchy-O with Total Unicorn at Summit Music Hall in Denver 8PM-Close

We actually spent our NYE with Denver’s Itchy-O last year, so we’re here to tell you this show is going to be a magical time! The mysteriously masked band will have you boogieing all over Summit Music Hall; Total Unicorn is opening. Enter the dark. Tickets here.

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club with Kid Congo Powers at 3 Kings Tavern in Denver 10PM-Close

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club will be laying out their ‘Commandments’ for you tomorrow evening at 3 Kings Tavern, and we’ve actually got a whole interview with Slim himself for you here. This show will be one crazy ride into 2017, so take it! Tickets here.

The Yawpers with The Other Black at The Oriental Theater in Denver 7PM-Close

The Yawpers. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

The Yawpers. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

We love The Yawpers. And we love The Other Black. And both of them are sharing the stage tomorrow night at The Oriental for NYE! The Moved and Evan Holm & The Restless Ones are opening the show, making for a full lineup of Denver badassery. Get to this gig- seriously. Tickets here.

Winehouse Masquerade Ball with Judge Roughneck at Mercury Cafe in Denver 930PM-Close

Winehouse.

Winehouse.

Denver’s Amy Winehouse tribute band Winehouse are ringing in the new year at Mercury Cafe with plenty of sultry, soulful vibes. Presales are only $20 and Judge Roughneck is opening the night, so grab tickets while you can! This will be an awesome show. Deets here.

Durango

Nappy Roots with Jerney at Animas City Theatre in Durango 9PM-Close

Jerney.

Jerney.

Nappy Roots are closing out the year in Durango tomorrow, and Denver’s Jerney is opening the gig. Jerney has been dropping new music like crazy this year, and this is one of his last Colorado shows, so make sure to get to it! Tickets here.

Greeley

The Burroughs with Bryce Merritt at The Moxi Theatre in Greeley 8PM-Close

The Burroughs.

The Burroughs.

Greeley’s The Burroughs dropped some sweet new music this past year, and they’ll be playing that for you tonight + more tunes at The Moxi. The nine-piece soul pop outfit will be joined by Bryce Merritt for good measure. Wicked. Tickets here!

Fort Collins

Rose Hill Drive with The Velveteers at Hodi’s Half Note in Denver 9PM-Close

The Velveteers. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

The Velveteers. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Denver’s The Velveteers are arguably one of the most successful acts coming out of Colorado right now. Fronted by Demi Demitro, the heavy rock two-piece will make you headbang all the way up until Boulder’s Rose Hill Drive takes the stage at Hodi’s. Go get yourself hypnotized. Tickets here.

Rollinsville

Jaden Carlson Band at The Stage Stop in Rollinsville 10PM-Close

Jaden Carlson.

Jaden Carlson.

Teenage musical prodigy Jaden Carlson has had quite the year in the Colorado music scene. From impressive opening slots for bands like The Revivalists to her own headlining performances at The Fox, Carlson has proved she knows how to break. things. down. Head out to her last performance of the year tomorrow at The Stage Stop! We guarantee it will be an impressively good time. More info here.

That’s it for us for NYE Colorado! See you in 2017!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. Header photo per Sierra Voss. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat

Paper Bird Takes Flight With New Self-Titled Album

By: Riley Ann

The Denver-based band that started with quaint beginnings never could have predicted where they are, nor where they’re going. After working in the studio with John Oates (Hall and Oates), Paper Bird released their self-titled album this year under the record label Thirty Tigers.

Fans who have been following Paper Bird evolve over the years will recognize their signature harmonies by the band’s three frontwomen: Sarah Anderson, Genevieve Patterson, and Carleigh Aikens. However, with some gritty electric guitar, rock organ, and raw, heavy drums in the studio mix, the band flirts with the rock of their pop rock sound, skirting the edges of 70s folk rock with a fresh, clean take. Furthermore, the vocals of their new album showcase more dynamic textures from the ladies. While their previous album Rooms exemplified their mastery of pure, shimmering harmonies, the new album unveils more nuanced emotions through the vocals, spanning whispering vulnerability, raspy desperation, and powerhouse vocal lines stacked like golden bricks.

Guitarist Paul DeHaven shared, “We were a lot more intentional with the sound we wanted to create [on this record]. Everyone in the band writes, which adds eclecticism, and we chose the songs that would work together in a cohesive, powerful way, and resonate with each of us individually.”

Watch Paper Bird’s latest music video for their tune “Don’t Want Half”:

The album began with 50 tunes the six members had written; some of them as complete songs, some of them as fragments needing development. Collectively, the members developed the songs and pared them down to the 11 best. Unlike Rooms, which was written in a month and recorded in less than two weeks, their self-titled album was refined and polished over a two-year period.

“The ability to listen back really informed what we liked and didn't like, so recording ourselves over two years gave us a new perspective on what needed to be added and what needed to be stripped away,” said DeHaven.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Paper Bird’s latest release is currently available in record stores, but you can watch their music video for “Don’t Want Half above and stream the entire album on Spotify. See Paper Bird live next week on Saturday, October 29th at Ivywild School, a former elementary school that now functions as a community-building reimagined to link people, culture, and commerce. The show begins at 8PM, and tickets are $12 in advance and $15 day of the show. You can also catch Paper Bird next month too at Denver’s Bluebird Theater November 25th and 26th. Show details can be found on their website.

-Riley

Find out more about Riley on her blog.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Eryn Allen Kane: A Powerful Force in Soul and Beyond

By: Annie Kane

“Little light you've lost your glow, you just cry and no one knows
That love isn't your friend, your friends are gone
But I say, it's okay, it's okay…”

-“Slipping” by Eryn Allen Kane

These are the lyrics from the song that made me fall in love with the soulful powerhouse that is Eryn Allen Kane (no relation to the author). I had the chance recently to sit down with this artist at her recent Bluebird Denver show, and her strength as more than just a vocalist quickly became evident.

Eryn Allen Kane.

Eryn Allen Kane.

Hailing from Detroit, Kane now calls Chicago her home, after a move to study acting at Columbia College. It was there she realized her passion and knack for singing.

Listen to Eryn Allen Kane’s “Slipping”:

When prompted about the origins of “Slipping”, a tune that mixes heart-wrenching lyrics with an uplifting melody, Kane revealed that it’s about a close friend of hers; a beautiful and talented person who supposedly could not see this about himself, and withdrew into a deep and depressive hole.

“He latched onto me in a parasitic way,” Kane said, adding that her friend believed his only happiness could be found in her. Kane’s pursuits in trying to make him aware of his beauty led her to this song.

Drawing from the people around her is Kane’s common source of creative power.

“I just absorb from my surroundings,” she said.

That being said, she also lets her listeners choose their own interpretations for her music, saying, “People can interpret my meaning however they will”. It is through this symbiotic relationship between herself and her fans that Kane is able to delve into her own emotions and understand them better, and it’s also how her listeners are able to find empowerment through her work.

Eryn Allen Kane strongly believes in self-empowerment. Despite being surrounded by some of the top emerging artists right now, she wants to be recognized for her individuality and capabilities. Her latest releases, Aviary: Act I & II, were done mostly solo. Though she comes from an environment she describes as a place where women didn’t encourage each other to do things, Kane now strives to do just the opposite. In fact, the majority of her music is written and produced by females. “Women should really empower each other,” she told me.

Another current force of female artistry in the industry is Brittany Howard, lead singer of Alabama Shakes, who happens to be on the short list of Kane’s most admired artists. In fact, I could see her eyes brighten as she spoke about Howard to me, excitedly raving, “She’s mixed like me and screamin’ like me!”. Coincidentally, Kane actually helped bring Alabama Shakes to the limelight through her friendship with the late, world-renowned Prince. After Kane introduced the band’s music to Prince, he actually brought the group to Paisley Park, his own recording studio, rehearsal space, and performance venue. Prince was a vital part of Kane’s discovery of her own inner power, and at her Bluebird Denver show, she even dedicated her last song of the set to him.

Prince is not the only musical genius to recognize Kane’s gift. Back in Chicago, she has connected and collaborated with numerous notable artists.

“I met everyone organically,” Kane humbly remarked.

And by everyone, Kane has quite a list. She’s now collaborated with Towkio, Noname, Saba, and of course, the squad of the Social Experiment, which includes Chance the Rapper and Donnie Trumpet. One of her latest collaborations, “Reality Check”, was written and recorded the day before rapper Noname dropped her debut project, Telefone. Kane spoke of Fatima (aka Noname) admiringly saying, “She’s one of the smartest human beings I’ve ever met… she’s wise beyond her years… a true poet”.

Kane’s admiration for her Chicago family doesn’t end there. When asked about the possibility of a shift in the environment since Chance and Vic Mensa’s recent jumps to stardom this year, she answered with a response on how much both artists care for their city:

“The Kanyes and Commons just up and left,” she noted, whereas Chance and Vic are giving so much of their fame-derived power straight back to the city. Her closeness with Chance really came through in this part of our conversation when she smiled, “He’s a good dude to the core… [he’s] paving the way for everyone else”.

It’s reasons like these that Eryn Allen Kane appears on so many artists’ tracks. She doesn’t collaborate simply to get her name featured, but does it for the sake of art and friendship.

“I do it because they’re good people,” she told me.

Eryn Allen Kane is spritely and genuine. The love she emanates toward everyone is unavoidable, and her unfaltering belief in her own art, as well as others, is uplifting and liberating. Hopefully you had the chance to catch her at the Bluebird this week, but if you didn’t, peep her tour schedule and get to a show.

Listen to more Eryn Allen Kane’s work here.

-Annie

Connect with me on instagram and Twitter.

All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Signs and Signals Keep On Flashing In The Studio and On Stage

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Find yourself "Human Again" with Denver's Signs and Signals.

Big things are in store for Denver’s alternative rock group Signs and Signals. The five-piece band, made up of Jason Kelly (vocals), Ryan Fraser (bass/supporting vocals), Brian Carpenter (lead guitar), John Ensey (guitar/supporting vocals), and Jimmy Fountain (drums) brings a powerful, eclectic flair to their music that is continuing to build momentum.

Signs and Signals at Denver Rockfest last weekend. 

Signs and Signals at Denver Rockfest last weekend. 

Since their inception in May 2014, Signs and Signals have played a number of shows throughout Denver, including Denver’s Underground Music Showcase, have been featured on 93.3 Locals Only, and raised over $6,000 in their Kickstarter campaign, allowing them to record their album, Human Again.

Human Again, which was recorded at The Spot Studios, has a number of songs that are powerful, catchy, and urge you to get up and move. Personal favorites from the album include heavy hitters such as “Fight or Flight,” “Human Again,” and “Here In The Dark.” While each band member has varying musical backgrounds, ranging from classical training, to the “by ear” technique, to being well-versed in the punk/ska scene, their unique talents all come together to create a fantastic sound. And as they continue to play together, along with newer members Ryan Fraser and John Ensey, the group has plans to tweak their sound to a heavier, more emotional feel. We can expect from their new music more riffs, artist collaborations, and deep-cutting lyrics- and I, for one, am excited.

S&S bringing the house down. 

S&S bringing the house down. 

After listening to Signs and Signals’ recorded music, as well as watching them perform on stage, I found that their music truly comes alive when seen in person. I watched them play at Moe’s BBQ in November 2015, and the energy felt during their performance was unreal. They had everyone headbanging, singing along, and cheering- and personally, those are my favorite kinds of shows. You could absolutely tell that the group has a strong bond and genuinely enjoys rocking out with their fans. To top it off, their music carries an excellent blend of “radio-friendly rock” with ass-kicking melodies.

2016 has been a hell of a year so far for the guys of Signs and Signals. They performed at the Bluebird Theater in January, the Marquis Theater in February, and finally, brought the house down last Friday night at Denver Rockfest at the Oriental Theatre, along with Innerspace, Vermillion Road, and My Own Iris.

Listen to Sounds and Signals title track from their album, "Human Again:

So what do we have to look forward to with Signs and Signals? After the excitement of their recent performances, the group has plans to write more music, record a new music video, and work on their collaborations, including their recent piece “Gravity Lies” with vocalist, pianist, and songwriter Amy Kress. That track will be released by the end of the summer.

Though you may not have many chances to see them play live during the upcoming months, be prepared for an even stronger Signs and Signals next fall. And in the meantime, check out their music on Spotify, Soundcloud, and their website.

-Jura

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The Pamlico Sound: Get Baptized in Funk This Saturday at The Lazy Dog

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Boulder's TPS are back in the game. 

Funk, soul, and psychedelia. That’s what Boulder’s The Pamlico Sound is all about. Formed in 2010, TPS has shared the stage with acts like Orgone, Kung Fu, Rowdy Shadehouse, The Magic Beans, and Technicolor Tone Factory. The eight-piece outfit have played The Fox, The Boulder Theater, The Bluebird, The Oriental, and many other local favorite spots. In 2014, the band took a hiatus as members worked on other projects, but they want you to know something Boulder: They’re Back! The Pamlico Sound will be throwing one crazy dance party at The Lazy Dog this Saturday, complete with a new killer rhythm section, an explosion of energy, and their “Jive Church” experience (just keep reading and it will all make sense soon young ones). In anticipation for the show, we sat down with the driving force behind the band, Will Baumgartner (vocals/baritone and soprano sax/flute/harmonica) to chat more about TPS and their plans for a 2016 takeover! Keep reading:

So Will, talk to us more about the “Jive Church” concept that TPS and their fans have been raving about since the band’s reformation. We’ve heard good things.

Glad you asked! The Jive Church basically turns our shows into an interaction between Pastor Will B (aka me, The Reverend Ever Ready), the Deacons (band members), Ghana Queen (our female vocalist), and the Congregation (audience) like so: As the pastor/reverend, I ask emphatically, “Can I get a ‘Hell Yeah’ from the Deacons?!”, to which the people onstage reply even more vigorously, “HELL YEAH!” Then, I turn to the audience: “Can I get a ‘Hell Yeah’ from the CONGREGATION?!” This often escalates to urgent calls of “Can I get a ‘F*CK YEAH?!’” And so on… Then, at least once during the show (usually toward the middle and the end), we offer a Funk Baptism, which consists of encouraging members of the Congregation to come to the edge of the stage (or up onto the stage itself), to be sprayed with Funky Holy Water (it’s a lot more sanitary than it sounds) while they writhe and contort in the Holy Spirit of the Funk. Our shows are also spiced up by brief “sermons” from me, Pastor Will/Reverend Ever Ready.

Wow. You literally spray people with Funky Holy Water and they love it?! I’m intrigued and impressed. Are you planning a lot of Funk Baptisms for Saturday’s show at The Lazy Dog? What else are you guys excited about?

Dang, that’s a GOOD QUESTION! In no particular order: Returning to our favorite small club in the homietown; our first show with new member (on trombone and vocals) Thom Holum; our second show with new drummer Curtis Collazo; the great likelihood of having some old friends/local luminaries sit in with the band; periodic stage diving into the arms of our beloved homiefans…

The Pamlico Sound bringing a funkadelic party to any show almost feels like an understatement for the picture my mind is making from all of this…

Yeah- we started out playing rager parties on the Hill to delirious hordes of sweaty wild-eyed lunatics, and that’s still how we approach every show: if you’re not sweaty, wild-eyed and delirious, you’ve mistakenly wandered into another show by a band of impostors. We are here to make you (and ourselves) feel ridiculously happy and free. And aside from the Jive Church shenanigans mentioned above, we always do things like sending the horn players out to wander amidst the crowd and play directly to them, “walk the bar” and so on; we also are known to frequently leap offstage and dance with crowd, and invite audience members to come onstage to sing and  dance with us.

The Pamlico Sound. Photo Credit:   Miles Photography

The Pamlico Sound. Photo Credit: Miles Photography

It sounds like to get the full TPS experience, we’ve got to come to a live show. We can’t wait! Beyond the insanity planned to rock the LD, what’s on deck for The Pamlico Sound in 2016?

We plan to give up sugar and coffee, participate in beauty pageants, and save kittens from trees. After we’ve done all that, we are planning to record all our new songs with Josh Fairman at Scanhope Sound (Josh has recently recorded/produced/mixed/mastered albums by The New Mastersounds, Atomga, and Analog Son, among others.) We’re also in the planning stages for our next Funkstravaganza, which is where we choose our favorite local funk bands and throw a big fat dance party with them at Cervantes’ in Denver. That will probably be happening in March or April. We’re also looking at festivals and regional tours.

Awesome! Anything else you want to tell us before Saturday, Pastor Will B?

Bring us your wired, your floored, your hugging bastards longing to be Flea.

Funk yeah. See you there Beaters.

Join the FB event here.

Watch The Pamlico Sound perform in the Radio1190 Studio here:

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Catching Up with Boulder's Realtalk: New Tracks, a Music Video, & a Gig at The Fox

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Realtalk are headed to The Fox and have a lot more in store for 2016.

Realtalk.

Realtalk.

You may remember Boulder band Realtalk from our feature “From House Parties to Headliners,” where we talked about the group’s transition from playing shows for their friends at CU bangers to playing Denver’s Bluebird Theater. The four-piece has been insanely busy since then, so it’s time we brought you an update Boulder! Here’s what’s up:

Realtalk, composed of Sean Campbell (vocals/guitar), Ara Verbano (bass), Jack Guth (keys), and Julian Kitzmiller (drums), have been back in the studio. They also dropped a new music video (which you can watch below) andddd they’ve got an upcoming gig at The Fox Theatre February 6th with Boulder bands Na’an Stop and Policulture. That’s a sweet lineup of local music peeps! Score yourself some tickets to that here before they sell out! And check out our chat below with frontman Sean Campbell for the deets on Realtalk’s most recent recording experience, how stoked the guys are to play the Fox, and the story behind the track they just dropped a video for, “My Friend.” Keep reading:

Realtalk recording at  Augminished Studio .

Realtalk recording at Augminished Studio.

So Sean- tell us about your recent recording experience: where did you record, who did you work with, and how did you choose which material to record?

We recorded with a guy by the name of Payden Widner. Payden does great work; we have worked with him once before. The spot was just outside of Denver; a place called Augminished Studio. Payden produced our single “On an Island” last spring and we really liked what he did with that song, so we were very happy to get the chance to work with him again. All three of the tracks were recorded in about six hours, which was a lot of material to lay down in a short amount of time. The way we look at it is, if you’re gonna pay for studio time, you better take advantage of every second that you’re in there. We chose to record “Freddie Gray”, “Running Around”, and “My Friend” because they all have very different moods. The rush that you get from the chorus in “Running Around” is very different than the relaxed mindset of “My Friend.”

Realtalk frontman Sean Campbell shreddin'.

Realtalk frontman Sean Campbell shreddin'.

That’s awesome! Tell us about the inspiration behind “Freddie Gray.” We know it’s a very personal song for you guys.

Well I’m from Baltimore; I grew up ten minutes outside of the city. My older brother Colin is a reporter for the Baltimore Sun. He covered the Freddie Gray case from front to back as it unfolded last April. Most of the marches and protests leading up to the rioting didn’t make national news. Nonviolent marches happened every day for a week. Then some protesters started violently protesting in front of Camden Yards. Rocks were thrown and police cars were damaged, and all of a sudden, it became breaking news across the country. The city sounded like a war-zone for five days after that. Anyway, that’s what inspired the lyrics in the chorus, “It takes riots and violence before we are listening.”  It’s seems to be the sad truth for a lot of the injustices that happens in our world.

Thanks for sharing that with us man- that is definitely some powerful stuff. It’s really great that you chose to turn that experience into music. Let’s change gears to “My Friend,” which you guys just dropped a video for recently. What was your favorite part of recording that track?

How it turned out honestly is the best part: It came out with a feeling; a soundscape, which is exactly what we were going for. We were trying to capture a very particular and consistent emotion in that track, and it’s fulfilling to hear it in the recording.

Get your tix from Realtalk for their February Fox show!

Get your tix from Realtalk for their February Fox show!

That’s sweet. Any story behind that song that you’d want to tell us more about?

Last summer, we roadtripped as a band to the West Coast to write music and play a few shows.  Ara, our bassist, is from the San Juan Islands in Washington, so we set up our stuff in his cabin and wrote music for 10 days. It was the best. It’s a small island and life is simple up there. No distractions; no noisy nonsense. Just a bunch of boys and their instruments. So the lyrics in “My Friend” reflect our 10-day stay on Guemes Island, you know, just taking note of the little things in life like a ferry-ride to the main town to get food and beer or the regular sight of Ara’s parents farming and working in their yard. That trip was the most time we had spent together as a band though, and tensions ran high at certain points. [That tension] is what we’re referring to in the chorus, “I walk away again,” because at times we all needed some space. But that’s part of the reason we’re doing big things together; we push each other to be better. It’s all a balance.

Definitely. That sort of tension can be rewarding- and it looks like that push for you guys has certainly been beneficial. We know that playing The Fox has been on your bucket list since your inception. Tell us about what you’re most looking forward to at that show and how the show came together.

Ahhhh man, where to start! We’re playing with Na’an Stop and Policulture, two groovy reggae bands from Boulder. Na’an Stop’s Patrick Mulholland (trombone/keys) saw us perform at The Lazy Dog back in October and he dug our sound enough to invite us onto the bill at their Fox show. Very stoked about it. I have seen so many sick shows at that venue. Musicians that I idolize tour through The Fox all the time, so it will be a wildly awesome dream-come-true to play a show there! We are getting so ready for this show, it’s not even funny. It’s gonna be off the chain.

Can’t wait! Get tickets. And check out Realtalk’s video for “My Friend” here: 

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.